Student Managed Investment Fund Takes Regional Competition Win for The Third Time

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 28, 2023

Kennesaw State University's Student Managed Investment Fund students Andrew OlsenCain BeattyClaudia MayHudson Anderson, and Justin Waters recently took first place in the CFA Institute Research Challenge Southern Classic, marking the third time KSU SMIF has taken this honor and the first time a team has won three times.

Andrew Olsen, Cain Beatty, Claudia May, Hudson Anderson, and Justin Waters

The competition pitted student teams from universities in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina against each other, requiring them to conduct in-depth analyses of publicly traded companies and present their findings to a panel of experts. The KSU SMIF team previously won the competition in 2017 and 2020, and their latest victory further cements their status as a leading program in finance education.

Participating in the CFA Institute Research Challenge is a valuable experience for students as it helps them develop analytic, report writing, and presentation skills. The competition is part of an annual global network of competitions that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Combined, the Research Challenge leverages the efforts of over 140 CFA member societies, 3,500 member volunteers, and more than 5,000 students from over 1,000 universities.

The success of the KSU SMIF team can be attributed in part to the guidance of industry experts Troy Harmon and Eli Hogan, who played instrumental roles in finetuning the team's work. Through their training, students learned how to analyze public companies, such as the event’s sponsor Pulte.

In the SMIF program, students make purchasing decisions for a real six-figure investment fund. The program provides students with the opportunity to analyze companies using Bloomberg, build financial models, write research reports, and present their findings to industry professionals. Students work together in industry sectors, allowing them to learn from one another and hone their skills.

Dr. Govind Hariharan, Chairman of the KSU SMIF's board of directors and faculty advisor, said, “this is the third time we have won this competition, making us the first to team to do so,” said Hariharan. “It is a tremendous honor for the team, for KSU SMIF, and for KSU as a whole, since this is a highly prestigious competition.”

In addition to the prestige, recognition, and $1,500 cash prize that comes with winning the CFA Institute Research Challenge, students also benefit from the numerous internship and employment opportunities that arise from their participation. SMIF and the CFA competition offer valuable networking opportunities, allowing students to connect with industry professionals and gain exposure to the finance industry.

“Since the CFA is a requisite credential for anyone in the finance industry, our students' victory in this competition provides them with great recognition among their future employers and peers,” said Hariharan.

Cain Beatty, a finance major and CEO of SMIF, secured an internship through SMIF’s extensive network and continues to make valuable connections.

"Joining KSU SMIF was easily the best decision I've made in my college career,” said Beatty. “The program not only provided me with invaluable knowledge and skills, but also connected me with a supportive community of alumni who consistently present exciting internship and job opportunities."

The KSU SMIF team's third victory in the CFA Institute Research Challenge Southern Classic is a testament to the excellence of the program and the dedication of its students and faculty. KSU’s SMIF provides students with a unique opportunity to develop critical skills in financial analysis, and the program's emphasis on hands-on learning and teamwork makes it a valuable asset for students aspiring to be finance professionals.

-Daijah Sims

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